Ottawa Senators (22-19-9)
Tampa Bay Lightning (29-16-5)
Tampa Bay Times Forum: 7:30 pm ET
Television: Sportsnet East, RDS
This is the second of five games between these two Atlantic Division rivals.
In their first meeting on Dec. 5, Ben Bishop made his second appearance against his former team and made 33 saves, backstopping the Lightning to a 3-1 victory.
Martin St. Louis scored twice and Valtteri Filppula added an insurance goal in the third period to seal the result. Patrick Wiercioch scored Ottawa’s lone goal on the power play in the second period.
Tampa has won their last three home games versus Ottawa.
After being dealt by the Senators at last season’s trade deadline, Ben Bishop’s success this season has been one of the great stories of the season and has fuelled some revisionist thinking.
To his credit, Bishop has made the most of his opportunity in Tampa and his name is scattered amongst the various NHL goaltending leaderboards.
- Wins: 24 (tied for third)
- GAA: 1.93 (third)
- Sv%: .935 (first)
- Shutouts: 4 (second)
Although he has resumed skating and even joined his teammates for a morning skate last week, Steven Stamkos remains out of the lineup as he continues his recovery from a broken tibia.
Victor Hedman could potentially join Stamkos on the sidelines. Hedman missed Sunday’s game in Carolina after suffering an ankle injury in San Jose.
From an Ottawa perspective, the biggest news coming out of practice yesterday were Marc Methot’s comments that voiced frustration with the possibility that he could be out of tonight’s lineup … as a healthy scratch.
After tweaking something in practice on Monday, Methot was held out of Tuesday night’s game in Washington for precautionary reasons, even though Methot felt at the time that he was healthy enough to play. And when he was partnered with Joe Corvo on what would be the team’s fourth defensive pairing during practice, it certainly looked like he was destined for another night in the press box.
Paul MacLean responded to the situation by calmly pointing out other instances in which veteran players like Chris Neil, Chris Phillips and Jason Spezza were also held out of the lineup to protect against players reaggravating their respective injuries.
To MacLean’s credit, he did not dismiss the possibility that Methot could play. He simply mentioned that it is a decision that will be made after he confers with his staff.
Craig Anderson was announced as Ottawa’s starting goaltender. Tonight’s game will mark his twelfth start in the team’s past fourteen games.
Interesting Stat #1
Much has been made of Ottawa’s record when Matt Kassian is in the lineup, but in Patrick Wiercioch’s past 11 games played, the Senators have a 7-2-2 record.
Wiercioch’s 1.22 points per 60 minutes of five-on-five ice-time, trails only Erik Karlsson (1.57) and Joe Corvo (1.36).
Not only is Wiercioch producing points proportionate to his ice-time, when he is on the ice, the Senators do a better job of possessing the puck. He currently has the second best Corsi For Percentage (CF%) on the Senators at 52.4-percent (note: I’m only referring to five-on-five situational play here).CF% is a proxy that measures puck possession by tracking the number of shots, blocked shots and missed shots that a team takes relative to the opposition.
In other words, when Wiercioch has a 52.4-percent CF%, it means that when he has been on the ice at five-on-five this season, the Senators have been taking 52.4-percent of the shots directed at the opposition’s net. Only Erik Karlsson’s 53.8-percent is higher.
Interesting Stat #2
After his four game goal scoring streak was snapped on Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers, Kyle Turris scored against Washington on Tuesday, giving him eight goals in his last 13 games.
It’s this hot streak that has catapulted him up ExtraSkater.com’s leaderboard for Goals For Percentage at five-on-five.
According to their numbers, the Senators have scored 42 of their 66 total goals while Turris was on the ice. In other words, when Turris is on the ice at five-on-five, the Senators have scored 63.6-percent of the goals – the 22nd highest rate in the NHL.
Interesting Stat #3
Stephane Da Costa was a ballyhooed and highly sought after collegiate free agent when he signed with the Ottawa Senators in March of 2011, but it turns out that Tampa’s own undersized free agent signing from that same month is the one turning heads.
Tyler Johnson, a teammate of Jared Cowen from their days in Spokane of the WHL, signed as an overage free agent with Tampa on March 7, 2011.
The 23-year-old currently is tied for second in rookie scoring with 12 goals and 30 points.
Interesting Stat #4:
According to Noey Kupchan, if the Senators shutout the Lightning, it will mark the first time in franchise history that the Senators have posted three consecutive shutouts on the road.